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Monthly Archives: Mar 2016

Lawmakers vote to align school board campaign disclosures with other races

Jeffrey A. Roberts (Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition)- Campaign finance disclosures in school board elections should be aligned with those of other races in Colorado, a panel of state lawmakers decided Monday night.

Prompted in part by untraceable spending from outside groups in recent Denver metro races, HB 16-1282 would require pre-election disclosure of independent expenditures of more than $1,000. It also would require disclosure of spending on advertisements, billboards and direct mailings.

Click here to read the full story from Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.

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How to be a campaign finance watchdog

Kyle Harris (The Colorado Independent)- Few organizations bust as many Colorado politicians for campaign-finance violations as Colorado Ethics Watch. These attorneys who make politicians tremble have decided to teach the public how to research campaign finance records.

Now you can figure out: Who’s paying for campaigns? Who’s spending money on political ads? Just how much is being spent? Which races have limits and which don’t?

Click here to read the full story in The Colorado Independent.

Click here to go to view Colorado Ethics Watch Campaign Finance Basics.


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Sunshine Week: Ethics Watch Releases “Campaign Finance Basics”

In honor of Sunshine Week, which promotes public access to government information, Colorado Ethics Watch has created a new tool to assist citizens and interested groups in understanding how to access and understand campaign finance contributions, expenses and reports in Colorado.

Colorado Campaign Finance Basics, a new tool posted to the Ethics Watch website, reveals:
• How to find the money involved in Colorado county or state political campaigns
• Useful websites for Colorado county or state campaign finance research
• Where to find out how much money is spent on political advertisements in Colorado county or state campaigns
• What Colorado county or state political campaigns have contribution limits

“Campaign finance can be a complicated issue to understand,” said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “Colorado Campaign Finance Basics helps Coloradans find out the groups and money involved in their Colorado county and state political campaigns.”

Colorado Campaign Finance Basics outlines the process to check the Colorado Secretary of State TRACER system and suggests checking the IRS forms of nonprofits and other political organizations to find otherwise unreported contributions. Information can also be found in political files or public inspection files that show the purchase of advertisement space for political purposes by groups or individuals, searchable on the Federal Communication Commission website.

While Colorado municipal elections fall under the jurisdiction of the municipality rather than the Colorado Secretary of State, it is possible to find local campaign finance disclosures and reporting in similar avenues through the appropriate municipality.

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Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission resists reform

Marianne Goodland (The Colorado Independent)- A bill to reform Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission outraged its Chair Bill Leone, who led the commission in taking a hard line on the measure that would create policies to address conflicts of interest between commissioners and the officials the body holds accountable.

The commission’s move to resist new regulations comes in the wake of a scathing review of its work by the state auditor. Leone said the audit “stung.”

Click here to read the full story in The Colorado Independent.

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Ethics Commission reform survives Republican ‘no’ votes

Marianne Goodland (The Colorado Independent)- A bill to clean up the state Independent Ethics Commission narrowly passed its first committee hearing Tuesday, despite opposition from Republicans and commission chair Bill Leone.

Leone testified he hadn’t seen the bill until recently and the commission had never discussed it publicly. That claim raised the hackles of the commission’s critics.

Click here to read the full story in The Colorado Independent.

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Audit: Colorado ethics commission rarely helps those filing complaints

Joey Bunch (Denver Post)-

The Colorado legislature is considering giving more staffing, clearer rules and more teeth to the state Independent Ethics Commission.

A state audit released Tuesday morning faulted the commission for poorly communicating which public officials it can hear complaints about and the narrow punishment it can hand out.


Click here to read the full story in the Denver Post.

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Audit: Colorado’s Ethics Commission has questionable ethics

Marianne Goodland (The Colorado Independent)-

Sloppy record keeping. Failure to follow the state’s open meetings and open records laws. Baffling instructions to anyone brave enough to file a complaint.

Those are a few of the charges the state’s auditor lobbed at Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission, the body that oversees the state’s ethics laws.

Click here to read the full story in The Colorado Independent.

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Divided state legislature has been on a bill-killing spree

J. Adrian Stanley (Colorado Spring Independent)-

The beginning of Colorado’s legislative session is a time of births and deaths — of bills that is.

With a divided legislature, both parties’ bills walk the plank early in the session, which began Jan. 13 and runs through May 11. As some might remember from their school days, a bill is first introduced in either house, where it is assigned to a committee by either the speaker of the house (in the House) or the senate president (in the Senate). The committee can then approve the bill, amend it, or ditch it. That happens before a bill is ever called up for a vote by the full House or the full Senate. Thus, bills that hold no appeal for the controlling party (or bills whose sponsors hold no appeal) often find themselves assigned to a “kill committee” where they are promptly “postponed indefinitely.” Here are some things to look for in a dead bill.

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Springs Independent.

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